On Star Wars night, a little more than just the galaxy was on the line, as Purdue’s coach Matt Painter looked to collect his 300th win of his coaching career.
The Boilers started slow and sloppy, turning the ball over and failing to knock down perimeter shots, but kick-started by Carsen Edwards and an 8-0 run, they were able to right the ship and handle IUPUI 86-61.
Tonight, Purdue fans might have brought cans for Star Wars posters, but it was the posterization that almost happened that they’ll remember. On a night Carsen Edwards set a career-high in points, he had a chance to do it in highlight fashion. Sitting on 25 points, he poked a ball loose and had a path to the rim. As is his usual way, he went for it and skied up with the ball cocked back in his left-hand and his eyes on glory, but instead he found the back of the rim and the dunk went soaring backwards away from the hoop. He would go on to finish a nice righty finger roll to score his new high of 27 points. He did it in every way, knocking down 11 of his 17 shots, getting to the hoop with either hand, and knocking down two 3-pointers. He was also a menace on the defensive end with two steals.
Ryan Cline comes in off the bench for the third straight game and starts a spark for the offense. The Boilers were 0 of 8 from beyond the arc before the Carmel native knocked down two straight 3-pointers to help push Purdue ahead of the Jaguars. He’s fully escaped his funk, having knocked down 8 of his last 12 attempts from three. His game continues to show drastic expansion. He was able to use the threat of his shot to drive by his defender and draw help, before dishing out to P. J. Thompson who knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game to give Purdue a 9 point lead going into the second half. He would finish the game with 9 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds while not turning the ball over.
A game after apologizing to the media about not grabbing one more rebound to get the double-double, Vincent Edwards made sure there’d be no doubt on the glass tonight. He grabbed his tenth rebound just under the 16:00 minute mark in the second half. After grabbing his fourth offensive rebound of the game off his own miss, Vincent would get fouled and go to the line, knocking down both, giving him 10 points and his fifth double-double of the season. He’s scored double-figures in every game this season.
After an uncharacteristically inefficient night from the floor against Valparaiso, Isaac Haas bounced back by digging into his bag of tricks and banking in lefty hooks and dropping in spin-move floaters. He shot 6 of 7 from the floor for 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. He continues to excel at the line, knocking down both attempts for the game.
P. J. Thompson continues to have a quiet but effective season. He had just 3 points, but turned the ball over only once and assisted on 6 field goals. Dakota Mathias had his worst shooting performance of the season by a long-shot, with the long-shot. He was just 1 of 6 from beyond the arc, and turned the ball over 3 times. He did have a steal and a block to go with his 3 assists.
Nojel Eastern might be gaining some confidence off the bench. He set a new career-high as well, scoring 9 points including knocking down the second 3-pointer of his career.
The Boilermakers will now get the week off to focus on finals and prepare for a test in the Crossroads Classic as they’ll take I-65 down to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Butler Bulldogs at noon on Saturday.